ChooksChick's BeakHouse Breeder Feed
This is a variant of the recipe I use for feeding my breeding flocks. I augment it with fig nuggets, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, raisins, currants, and various seeds or nuts that are appropriate and affordable. I use cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne (or crushed red pepper), and dehydrated vegetables when affordable. I also add 5# of milk replacer (kid formula is great) to help the fine items bind to the seeds with the molasses. I add a bit of oregano and rosemary oil sometimes, and dehydrated minced garlic.
I take many of the items to the mill with me, but our mill (Perry Milling Company) has most of the following items and they are fabulous! I can fax my order in and they'll have the goods for a ton pulled and ready to go before I get there- then they just add what I bring to the stuff that needs to be crimped (chopped up), then mix that with the grains that remain whole, add the molasses and it's done! It's a lovely, rich, nutritious feed that the birds love, and it's satisfying enough that they don't feel like they have to stuff themselves all day.
When introducing this to your flock, you need take along some of your usual feed and have them mix it-- or just mix it as you go, increasing the quantity of the new feed periodically. Start at 90% of whatever you usually use and make sure you have LOTS of grit available in a bowl for free-choice use by your flock. Go up by 5-10% weekly. It's important to introduce this to them gradually so they can build up their gizzards to handle the increased work. Do not take this lightly, as you could lose your birds to blocked crops! Also, birds who have only eaten pellets or crumbles may not recognize this as food immediately if they are young. All flocks need time to adjust the strength of their gizzard to being able to properly 'chew' whole-ish grains. If you don't give them adjustment time you risk having an obstructed crop and this can be fatal. Don't make me say it again!!
This works out to a more expensive feed per #, but lasts longer per 50# bag, so it's quite comparable. The benefits are quickly obvious, as you'll be cleaning your coop less frequently, and it's a drier, less gross 'product' to clean. Poop is far less abundant and is drier, and smells less wicked.
I get my corn, wheat, barley, millet, sunflower seed and milo from a local organic supplier. I also get the organic fish meal, nutri-balancer (vitamins, minerals, pro-biotics) and kelp from Fertrell. It's important to try to go that way for me, but not everyone is as concerned. Do what you can- ANY improvement you can make to the conventional, pre-digested food you get from the feed store is better for them...
BeakHouse Breeder Feed
Percent of Mix Barley 3.00% Beet Pulp 2.00% Buckwheat 3.00% Old Feed Increase as you go Fish Meal 6.00% Flax Seed 7.00% Hulled Oats 4.00% Kelp 3.00% Medium Grit 3.00% Milo 4.00% Molasses 6.00% Oyster Shell-med 3.00% Peas, Austrian-CRIMP 5.00% Peas, Canadian-CRIMP 5.00% Peas, Maple-CRIMP 5.00% Chia, other superfoods 3.00% NutriBalancer 3.00% Safflower Seed 5.00% Special Items (Figs, fruit, etc.) 2.00% Spices &etc. 1.00% Split Peanuts-CRIMP 5.00% Sunflower Seed 5.00% Quinoa 2.00% Wheat 5.00% White Millet 5.00% Whole Corn-CRIMP 5.00% Totals 100.00%
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